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Published: March 19th 2009
Doesn´t he look like Monkee ?
Cusco and beyond
We flew up to Cusco via Lima for the strenuous part of the trip. I am still not sure what we were thinking when we decided to walk for 4 days as part of our honeymoon but at that stage it was too late to pull out.
Anyway we arrived in Cusco which is at 3400 metres so we were feeling the extra altitide a little. Off we went to our trek briefing where we eyed up our fellow hikers to try to identify who was going to be the pain in the arse of the group (there is always one). Yes, there was one and what a pain she was, but more on that later.
The next morning we were up at 5, for a 5 45 start. We were all there ready to go except for the aforementioned pain in the arse, yank (henceforth known as moany knickers or MK for short). She turned up 20 minutes late having been in the same hotel as us and sauntering around at breakfast when we were leavong. Anyway she get on the bus and proceeds to take the guide's seat and then she started talking.
What we typically ate
She did not stop talking for 4 days and asked some of the stupidest questions known to man.
Some of the questions were
"What are those tents used for - storing vegetables ?" (For f&&ks sake)
"Did the Incas eat whole grain food ?"
"Can the chef cook low GI food for us?" (Bear in mind the kitchen was carried up the mountain as was all the food )
To save time we decided we hated her right there and then.
In the beginning
After a 90 minute bus journey we were at the start of the trail. Day 1 us relatively easy, that is in comparison to the hell of day 2. It started with a gentle amble along a river to lull us all in to an utterly false sense of security and then bam - the first climb. Quickly we realised that exercise at an altitude of 2500 metres is not your friend. All told that day we climbed to 3200 m and walked 14km- That doesn´t sound much but it was up and down like the proverbial. While we were busy whinging, our porters who were all carrying 25
kilos were running past us like little ants on speed. Not for them the fancy hiking boots. No, indeed not. What´s wrong with a pair of flip flops and a tracksuit, while carriying a stove on your back and running up a mountain. Yep, the porters are the hardest little feckers I have ever seen, EVER
Oh, one other very important point : our guide was the image of Monkee, remember him from BBC2 ?
Night one was spent at 3200 metres (remember Carauntoohill is less than 1000m). The tents themselves were grand, comfortable enough and kept the rain out. And boy did it rain. It lashed down during the night but had the decency to stop by the next morning. As I said before, day 2 is the tough day, so we started early, or at leat most of us did. MK was again late and when she did arrive started giving out to the porters for some minor indiscretion. Off we set at 7am to climb to Dead Woman´s pass, so called not because women die on it, no apparently it looks like a dead woman. At it´s highest point it is 4215 metres or almost 14000
We made it
feet. It is tough, no mistake and the view is almost worth it. Ok, the view is worth it. So, after the peak we went down a rake of rough steps till we got to 3400 metres and then lunch. At that point Fiona´s boots completely calved. I mean, the soles fell off !!! She had gotten them "fixed" in Cusco beforehand but it became obvious that our friend the shoemaker did not know his arse from a hole in the ground. So the second part of the day´s hike and everything after that was going to be in sandals for Fi. (Not an easy task). In the afternoon we climbed up again to 3900 metres and at about 5 30 pm we finished up for the day, utterly wrecked but knowing the worst was over
Our fellow trekkers were a great bunch with the obvious exception. We had a couple of Thai/American brothers who looked liked Paul McGrath and Ronaldhino respectively. We had a mad Kiwi girl who was wearing tights on the hike, we had a Geordie girl a youngish English couple, a German guy three punters from Quebec and an older English couple
The intrepid hiker
Fiona in the mountains
who struggled on day 1 and had to turn back (pity for them).
There was great banter and craic amongst the group and when it was all over we went for pints in Cusco.
Day 3 was really easy. We started later (8 o´clock) and finished up fairly early too at about 3. We finished up at a lodge where luxury of luxuries awaited - hot showers and a bar !! It would have been rude to refuse so notwithstanding the early start on day 4 we had a pint. We had a fairly late night (by Inca trail standards) and were in bed by 9 30. Just before bed we were introduced to all the porters and is the custom we all gave a collective tip to them - all except MK and partner who were mysteriously in bed. That was no surprise, but she had pestered the guides all the time, annoyed everyone and then was too mean to give them anything.
The finale : Macchupichu
On the last day, the world and his wife are trying to get to Macchupichu first. The checkpoint opens at 5:30 so to get there first we were up at 4 !! After breakfast we set off on the last 7 or 8 k to the famous city. The adrenaline really had kicked in and we were almost running. After about an hour we got to the Sun gate just as dawen was breaking. What an absolutely amazing sight. Worth every step. From there, a descent to the city itself. It really is a fantastic thing to see and especically early, before the trains arrive. It felt like one of the wonders of the world and all the more so for the sense of achievement we felt for walking there. Mind you having said that, I was glad to be finished walking.
We pottered round Macchupichu for a few hours, then down to Aguas Calientes for some grub and a dip in the hot springs before the train beckoned to Cusco and a sleep in a real bed with an actual working toilet in a real bathroom.
Tot: 1.341s; Tpl: 0.096s; cc: 12; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0352s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
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